Thursday, 19 February 2015

Pattern Drafting

Hello all,

I wanted to share with you what I've been up to over the last few weeks. I've been taking part in a pattern drafting course at Carolyn Rose School of Sewing in Leamington for the last 4 weeks - with another 2 weeks still to go - and it's been fantastic!

I've been searching for a pattern drafting course for a while and luckily, finally came across a course at Carolyn Rose. Fortunately for me, there was still a space on the course (I found it 3 days before it was due to start!).

The first session was definitely a bit of a brain teaser, what with all the measurements, arithmetic and measuring out accurately, but Candace, the lady who teaches the course made everything feel super simple so we all got through it in the end. By the end of the session, we had our rough bodice block to check for fitting. Mine fit first time round fortunately so it meant I could get on to creating a skirt block and the final bodice block the next session.


So far we've made our full bodice block and a skirt block.



We've learnt how to manipulate the darts for different bodice shapes.


And I've even drafted my very first ever pattern design for a bodice to go with a nice gathered skirt. This week's job is to make it up in muslin form to check for fit etc. Can't wait!


Next week we're drafting our sleeve block before going on to more pattern design in the final session.

All in all, the course has been great and I've learnt so much. I have so many ideas of things I want to design and make so watch this space!

Those of you out there who want a new sewing challenge, I'd definitely recommend a pattern drafting course. And if you live in the Coventry / Leamington area you should check out Carolyn Rose as they have not only the beginners pattern drafting course, but intermediate courses, trouser block courses and jacket block courses. I'm pretty much determined to sign up each and every one of them! :-)

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Finished Project: Copycat Coco

Happy Sunday all! Hope you all had a lovely Valentines day, whatever you were doing. Hubby and I went to Ludlow for the day - I really pretty black and white market town in Shropshire - before coming back and going out for a nice Thai meal. Pretty chilled but lovely nonetheless.

Anyhoo - on to the finished project. I made this the day after I made my Coco Blue - I'd been to Birmingham and came across some really snuggly red sweatshirt material so decided to completely rip-off Tilly's own snuggly red coco top she made and make one of my own.


Just like the dress, this is super easy to make and Tilly's instructions are really easy to follow. I made it in 1 hour max. What I love about sewing with sweatshirt / jersey fabric is the ability to be a lazy stitcher and not do anything with the seam finishes as they don't fray.

I have worn this so much since I made it - perfect for wearing round the house when I need another layer or on those colder days at school too.

Plus, I've got enough sweatshirt fabric left to make myself a bolero top or something - anyone have any suggestions for good bolero patterns?

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Finished Project: Coco Blue

Hello hello! How are we all?

I've got another finished project today - something super quick and easy to get me in the mood for sewing up my vintage jacket. Tilly's Coco pattern.



I bought this pattern a few weeks back because I liked the idea of having some super simple and comfortable staples for work in my wardrobe. It basically took me just over an hour to cut out the pattern, cut the pattern pieces and then sew up - it could not be simpler! That's my kind of quick make!


I used some navy blue ponte de roma jersey - so lovely and soft - to make up the dress. I thought about adding the pockets but decided I just wanted a simple plain dress for this version. However, I have plenty of plans for making more of this pattern - tops and dresses.


Other than that, I added 2" to the length because I prefer my dresses slightly longer than it would have been if I'd left it. But other than that, I cut out a straight size 3 and fits brilliantly.

Next up (in between sewing my vintage jacket) is a blatant idea steal from Tilly herself - a red sweatshirt version of the funnel collar Coco top. Very snuggly!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Vintage Pattern Pledge # 1: Simplicity 3062

Hello all!

So as I mentioned in my previous post, I decided to sign up for the Vintage Pattern Pledge this year to try to encourage me to use some of the many vintage patterns in my stash. 

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As I had a wedding coming up, I wanted to make a new dress - something that would go with a lovely vintage hat I found before Christmas - so a vintage pattern seemed like a good choice! 


The pattern I've used is Simplicity 3062 - a 1959 wiggle dress pattern. There's a matching cropped jacket to go with it but I've decided not to make that this time round. 


I made the dress out of some red wool fabric I bought at my first ever Birmingham Blogger's meetup - I bought it with either a wiggle dress or some kind of skirt suit pattern in mind but never got round to making anything with it.


The bust size was right for me but I needed to alter the waist measurement so I re-drew the pattern and made a muslin to check - when I tried it on the waist was then too big so I took off about 1/2" overall around the waist and made another muslin. The fit was fine after that so I was able to get on with making the actual dress. 


I fully lined the dress with some lovely soft, grey lining fabric and ended up shortening the length of the dress by about 1" before hemming.


I did a lapped zip as I always think these look lovely with vintage dresses. 


Because the wool gets bulky where its folded, when I made the darts in the front and the back, I snipped them open and pressed each side flat rather than pressing the whole dart to one side.


I also catch-stitched the hem and whip stitched the lining to the zip to finish the dress off. 


All in all I'm quite proud of this make - the fabric is a lovely colour and the fit is really nice.  


I'm planning on making a jacket to go with the dress out of a really nice grey/blue woollen fabric I bought this weekend from Barry's Fabrics. Since the wedding is in February I wanted a jacket that would be warmer than the cropped style jacket that matches the dress pattern.


Sunday, 18 January 2015

Vintage pattern pledge 2015

Hello all!

I've decided to sign up for the Vintage pattern pledge his year. Thanks to A Stitching Odyssey and Kestrel Makes for hosting it this year.

My pledge this year is a simple one really.

To sew at least 5 vintage patterns from my current collection. 

I have so many patterns I haven't sewn yet it seems a shame they just sit languishing in a box. And in true organised fashion I happen to have just finished my first vintage pattern of the year already!

Simplicity 3062. More pictures to follow when I get round to photographing it properly.




I've made it for a wedding I'm going to in February... Mainly to go with a vintage hat I found in a local vintage shop which I fell in love with despite not having anything to really go with it. I figured why not make something to go with it! I have to say it's probably the first time I've made an outfit round an accessory before...


Next up - a vintage jacket to match the hat and go over the dress.




Sunday, 11 January 2015

Finished Project: Cambilax Dress

Hello my lovelies,

Hope you've all had a fantastic Christmas! Anybody get any exciting sewing related presents?


I've got another finished project for you today. The Cambilax dress. A combination of the Elizalex bodice and the the Cambie A-line skirt.

This Russian Dolls fabric was bought on my last Brum sewing meet-up and it's been waiting patiently to be sewn in to a dress since then! I was originally going to do the Elizalex skirt too, but I decided against it in the end because the fabric isn't exactly 'dressy' dress material and I thought the Elizalex skirt looks more like a 'dressy' dress type pattern. I wanted to wear this for work and not feel oddly overdressed (not that a dress covered in Russian dolls would make you look over dressed but you get what I mean).


Since all the pattern pieces have been used before and fit me well, this pattern took very little sewing time. I had the dress made in an afternoon (and then it sat hanging in the sewing room for half a term waiting for the hem to be finished)

I've been incredibly lazy about my hems recently and have sewn them all my machine. I really do prefer the look of catch-stitched hand sewn hems though so I'm revering back to this for my next project.


The bodice is lined as per the Elizalex pattern instructions but I left the skirt unlined as I normally wear a slip underneath in the winter anyway.

One of these days I will actually get round to making the full Elizalex pattern! But anyhoo, I love this pattern hack and it's just so comfortable to wear for work.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Yearly round-up



So... it's kind of depressing to look back on 2014 and realise just how little I have actually made this year. Eight items of clothing only (plus some small crochet items) - nowhere near the amount I have made in previous years.
 

When I began doing my PGCE to retrain as a teacher a little over two years ago, I never imagined how little I would end up sewing. I knew that teaching would be busy - much busier than my 9-5 desk based job with no take home work, which I did previously, but it's somewhat depressing to see just how much teaching has taken over from everything else.

Admittedly, this year (since September at least) I've been at a different school, having completed my NQT year, and actually I seem to be slowly gaining more of my weekend time back, so I'm hoping that 2015 will be much more productive that 2014!

All bar 1 of the 8 items I made this year have been dresses - and mostly dresses from patterns I have previously made, which means that I have been able to turn them around much quicker than if I was using a new pattern. This is very much a result of having limited time last year. Sadly, that also means that all the lovely vintage patterns I have in my stash, that I really want to make, have been left languishing because they require more time that I have had up to date.

However, I am determined that this year will change - I have already created a muslin of a vintage 50s wiggle dress to test for fit and this needs to be sewn up in the actual fabric ready for a wedding at the start of February - so that is my first goal for 2015!

I am also determined that I will give myself much more sewing time this year as well. Much as I love my job, I am not going to allow it to take over everything any more.

On the plus side this year, I actually managed to teach myself to crochet! Thanks mainly to the blog Attic24. Lucy provides some of the best, clearest, instructions I have managed to find and she has turned me into a crocheter! As a result, I actually managed to make 3 crochet based presents - a cuddly rabbit for my youngest niece (Craftsy pattern), a bobble hat for her older sister and a crochet owl as part of my own sister's Christmas present (using this great free pattern by BunnyMummy).

Taken from Bunny Mummy
(4) Name: 'Crocheting : Stella Bunny Crochet Pattern
Taken from Craftsy
So...... Goals for 2015. I'm not normally one for New Year's resolutions - as I invariably end up breaking them, but in 2015 I am determined that:

  • I will carry on with the crochet - It's incredibly relaxing and I can also do this whilst sitting in the lounge with the hubby so I don't feel like I'm being anti-social.
  • I will sew at least 2 of my vintage patterns this year.
  • I will try to give myself sewing time at the weekends whenever I can - I'm busy during the week, but there's no excuses at the weekend. 
What about everyone else? Any crafting related resolutions for 2015?